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Sky-High Ambition for College

By Demareo Jones
November 1, 2016

I made it. When you grow up in a low-income community like mine, reality hits you the hardest because you see what happens if you don’t succeed. Even walking from my house to get to school safely was an everyday obstacle. I stayed busy, getting really involved with martial arts, writing my first book and even becoming politically involved, being the first African-American President elected at my high school and being part of the Chicago Public School Board where we brought the student voices to the table.

As much as I had my resume filled with extracurricular activities, working for politicians, and the drive to succeed, I could not have handled the college process without OneGoal. Everyone needs that solid foundation to start off and support you and that’s what OneGoal and my Program Director did for me. I remember when I was considering what colleges I wanted to apply to, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University was my number one choice, but I felt applying was useless. I didn’t think that I was smart enough to get in and had all sorts of doubts. But through my Program Director’s encouragement, I applied, got in, and told myself ‘I’m going to go for it.’

“I remember when I was considering what colleges I wanted to apply to, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University was my number one choice, but I felt applying was useless. I didn’t think that I was smart enough to get in and had all sorts of doubts. But through my Program Director’s encouragement, I applied, got in, and told myself ‘I’m going to go for it.’”

I’m now a freshman at Embry Riddle studying Aeronautical Science because my dream is to become a military pilot before re-entering the world of politics. A few years ago I stepped in a plane, and once it took off I just thought ‘this is it, I’m going to fly for the rest of my life.’’ Even with all the encouragement from the outside world, school has been hard. The expectations in college are so much higher, but I’m making it work and adjusting my studying strategy after every downfall. The biggest concern for me is being able to pay for college, because even with the scholarships I’ve earned, I have to pay for my flight classes out of pocket, and the money I had saved up for that I had to use when my car broke down. The cost of a college education is hard on everyone around me. I’ve seen friends in my program that come from wealthier families have to drop out of school, and it makes me think that at any time it could be me having to drop out. It makes me nervous about my future. But I’m not giving up. I’m applying to more scholarships, for a part-time job, and I’ll continue working in the summers.

“The cost of a college education is hard on everyone around me. I’ve seen friends in my program that come from wealthier families have to drop out of school, and it makes me think that at any time it could be me having to drop out. It makes me nervous about my future.”

Being exposed to issues like poverty, rising college costs, violence, and policies that only benefit a select few is why I have my career path all planned out: I’m going to finish college, rise in the ranks as a pilot in the Air Force while furthering my education, then retire and go into politics. I always wanted to serve because I believe America is a great and beautiful place. No joke, I have the American flag in my room, go nuts for 4th of July and even have the Pledge of Allegiance on my playlist. Many of us take for granted what we have and what the red, white, and blue represents. This is America, the land of the free and home of the brave. I may not always agree with the politics or policies, but this is my home and this will always be home. I want to play my part in making this a better home for everyone and change the unfair policies that are hurting and dividing us.

If I could accomplish one thing: I want to create a domino effect of positive change. That’s why I’m going to run for President of the United States. The sky’s no longer limit; we have reached outer space.

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